The Breath Eaters v1.0


Custom software (color, silent)
Edition of 5, 1 AP

In collaboration with James Schmitz

The Breath Eaters is an animated, custom software work that visualizes PM2.5 pollutants produced by wildfire and fossil fuel plant emissions. Inspired by a Midjourney image of a world map and presented as a live, generative composition, the work demonstrates how particulate pollution is carried into the high atmosphere and across the globe on currents of wind. The Breath Eaters v1.0 broadcasts real-time data from NASA’s fire detection systems, World Resources Institute’s global fossil fuel power plant database, and NOAA’s global forecast system.

Beyond visualizing global emissions, we are asking: if carbon has been extracted and liberated to roam the globe on the winds, why is the world of beings (human, plant, animal) constrained by national boundaries, walled in and walled out? It’s our hope that a near-live data stream of pollution’s transnationalism will give rise to empathy in viewers—this map can look very different with planetary action.

In its first instantiation at bitforms gallery in December 2020, a triptych that forms a globe turning offers an immediate impression of global particulate pollution.

Excerpt / screen recording of real time data
At the United Nations’ “Water for People and Planet” convening in March, 2023.